Three years after his death, the value of the company's capital stock topped $250 million. learn how over 7,000 companies got started! The Union Stockyards remained one of the nation's great success stories. That was at the virtual height of the industry's development in Chicago, which, during the Great Depression, started into a decline, albeit a slow one. In their heyday, when they were in full operation, the Swift and Armour plants between them processed up to five million head of cattle per year. And Verl Thompson was in on all the action. Monfort had its beginnings back in 1930, when it opened a feedlot with 30 head of cattle. Swift's solution to these problems was to devise a method to ship dressed meats from his packing plant in Chicago to the East. Swift, Louis F., and Arthur Van Vlissingen, Reyes, Sonia, "Swift Sautes Plans to Meet Beefy Objectives,", Taylor, Lisa Y., "Old Swift Site in Fort Worth Proposed for Apartments,". This, however, limits transportation to only the coldest winter months. Gustavus Franklin Swift and the Meat Packing Revolution Gustavus Franklin Swift was an American entrepreneur who founded Swift & company, once a giant meat company. The first consignment of dressed beef to leave the Chicago stockyards was in 1857, and was carried in ordinary boxcars retrofitted with bins filled with ice. During that period he was employed in several jobs, finally finding full-time work in his elder brother Noble's butcher shop at the age of fourteen. (502) 582-0011. Sausages might incorporate rat droppings, dead rodents, and sawdust, and meat that had spoiled or meat mixed with waste materials was sometimes packed and sold. In 1878 his partnership with Hathaway and Swift Bros and Company was formed in partnership with younger brother Edwin. Not only did the industry lack an adequate distribution system to ship fresh meat to widespread markets, it had no means to prevent the meat from spoiling. The Union Stockyards, which were established in 1865 by a group of investors, some of whom were friends of Abraham Lincoln, were processing over two million livestock by the time Swift moved to Chicago. [1], Swift donated large sums of money to such institutions as the University of Chicago, the Methodist Episcopal Church, and YMCA. Swift Meat Plant employees in Ft Worth , Texas. Transgressions such as these were first documented in Upton Sinclair's novel The Jungle, the publication of which shocked the nation and led to the passing of the Federal Meat Inspection Act of 1906. Although he was only a high school graduate, he became a very wealthy person through hard work and shrewdness. When the internal temperature reaches 195 degrees F, the pork is ready. Fort Worth, Texas USA. In 2002, while still a subsidiary of ConAgra Foods, Swift employed 4,500 workers, a significant figure to be sure, but nothing on the scale it reached when the meat packing industry was in full swing. 5 votes. Many animals weakened by the long drive died in transit, further increasing the per-unit shipping cost. In 1880, the Peninsular Car Company (subsequently purchased by American Car & Foundry) delivered to Swift the first of these units, and the Swift Refrigerator Line (SRL) was created. The 1950s were a hopping time in the Ogden Stockyards/Swift Meat Packing Plant. By 1920 the SRL owned and operated 7,000 ice-cooled rail cars. His father, hoping to keep young Gustavus at home, cut a deal with the lad by offering to buy him his own steer if the new entrepreneur would stay on Cape Cod. Chicago and the birth of the meat-packing industry, General American Transportation Corporation, "Gustavus F. Swift Dead. He is credited with the development of the first practical ice-cooled railroad car, which allowed his company to ship dressed meats to all parts of the country and abroad, ushering in the "era of cheap beef." Swift & Co. was broken down organizationally into various divisions, each one responsible for conducting a different aspect of the business of "bringing meat from the ranch to the consumer". At the time Swift made his move to Chicago, western trail-head "cow towns" in Kansas and Nebraska were booming. Poor railcar conditions lead Gustavus Swift to butchering and packing meat before shipping. Detroit's William Davis patented a refrigerator car that employed metal racks to suspend the carcasses above a frozen mixture of ice and salt. In 1943, the company's sales volume reached $1.4 billion. Media Type. Unloading Container In order to save your overall international shipping cost, we offer containers unloading service. In 1862, Swift and his new bride opened a small butcher shop and slaughterhouse. Right next to the Fort Worth Stockyards is a large abandoned industrial complex that used to be the Swift Meat Packing Plant. Chase's design proved to be a practical solution to providing temperature-controlled carriage of dressed meats, and allowed Swift & Company to ship their products all over the United States, and internationally. By the decade's end, a significantly part of Swift & Co.'s growth involved its increasing export of pork and pork products. The plant was opened in 1887 and closed in 1969. Despite the fact that many employees went into the military during the conflict, Swift's plants continued to operate at full capacity thanks to war-time demands. (1994), This page was last edited on 2 December 2020, at 17:51. His parents were descendants of British settlers who went to New England in the 17th century. 1940s SWIFT & COMPANY MEAT PACKING MARKETING FILM SUPPLY & DEMAND CARTOON 53854 - Duration: ... New complaints filed against JBS Swift meat plant - Duration: 2:49. Location. WLKY News Louisville 3,698 views. In a press release issued when the deal was singed in May 2002, John R. Muse of HMTF stated that the arrangement would "further optimize the performance and build the value of" the operations of Swift & Company. It covered approximately eight square blocks and consisted of several brick and stone buildings, and was located in proximity to the Omaha Stockyards. For example, in 1915 Swift implemented a "safety first" campaign, reducing plant-level industrial accidents by 50 percent. ", Scheduled To Close: Swift & Co. Plant Was a Boon to SSF, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Gustavus_Franklin_Swift&oldid=991949068, Businesspeople in the meat packing industry, Articles with unsourced statements from March 2012, Articles with dead external links from January 2020, Articles with permanently dead external links, Wikipedia articles with SNAC-ID identifiers, Wikipedia articles with WORLDCATID identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Swift Brands Sioux City, Iowa meat packing plant circa 1917. Photo of Swift Armour Meat Packing Plant. Live cattle and dressed beef deliveries to New York (tons): The subject cars travelled on the Erie, Lackawanna, New York Central, and Pennsylvania railroads. We see them around but we don't know what goes on behind the scenes. In response to public outcries to reduce the amount of pollutants generated by his packing plants, Swift sought innovative ways to use previously discarded portions of the animals his company butchered. Over the next several years ConAgra grew into a diversified food producing and marketing giant with an array of products sold under several familiar-brand names: Healthy Choice, Butterball, Banquet, Hunt's, Orville Redenbacher's, Reddi-Whip, Slim Jim, and Armour. Two years later, in 1855, he opened his own cattle and pork butchering business with the help of one of his uncles who gave him $400. The Swift Meat Packing Plant. The absence of federal inspection led to abuses. An astute cattle-buyer, Swift followed the market steadily westward. Verl Thompson. The innovations that Swift championed not only revolutionized the meat packing industry, but also played a vital role in establishing the modern American business system, with an emphasis on mass production, functional specialization, managerial expertise, national distribution networks, and adaptation to technological innovation. According to a ConAgra news release, its minority stake in its meat processing business would reduce its equity in that segment of its business from over $1 billion to $150 million. By then it was experimenting with case ready beef and was producing vacuum-packed and boneless pork. All rights reserved. Through the first half of the 1990s, ConAgra's Monfort Pork Division fared well, in part because of a widely disseminated ad campaign suggesting that as "the other white meat" pork was a healthy substitute for beef, and in part because a glutted market drove the cost of hogs down, most notably in 1995, when ConAgra's pork division, by then operating as Swift, enjoyed a very profitable year. The industry also garnered infamy during this time, however, for deplorable working conditions, as portrayed in the Upton Sinclair novel The Jungle. Swift's attempts to sell this design to the major railroads were unanimously rebuffed as the companies feared that they would jeopardize their considerable investments in stock cars and animal pens if refrigerated meat transport gained wide acceptance. A shrewd businessman, he purportedly followed the somewhat common practice of denying his herds water during the last miles of the trip so that they would drink large quantities of liquid once they reached their final destination, effectively boosting their weights. Swift purchased livestock at the market in Brighton and drove them to Eastham, a ten-day journey. 1915-81: Swift & Company Grows into Industry Giant. He founded a meat-packing empire in the Midwest during the late 19th century, over which he presided until his death. Klann stumbled upon the Swift Meatpacking industry—located in Chicago—which was actually a disassembly line. Meat packing plants began to move closer to larger feed lots within rural areas and making an inner-city livestock center no longer needed. Upon ar… Source: International Directory of Company Histories, Vol. These were the points where large herds of longhorn steers, bred in Texas but fed out on the northern plains, were rounded up and driven for shipment by rail to Chicago's Union Stockyards. By 1900, it had also reached beyond national boundaries, opening shops in London, England. Copyright (c) 2019 Company-Histories.com. Swift Black Angus Beef Retail Opportunities The beef that increases your bottom line. By that time, the company had also developed thriving side-line businesses, and though by 1920, under a consent decree, it was forced to dispose of some of them, it still offered various meat and byproduct items at company-owned outlets across the country. Note. Meanwhile, Swift saw his company grow into one of the nation's main meatpacking companies, with a reach throughout the United States. At home, the efforts of Swift and others helped transform Chicago into what poet Carl Sandburg styled "Hog-butcher to the World," that is, the world's largest slaughterhouse and meat-processing center. October 9, 2011 John Rust 21 Comments. Description. View Gallery. Following the end of the American Civil War, Chicago emerged as a major railway center, making it an ideal point for the distribution of livestock raised on the Great Plains to Eastern markets. The meat was packed tightly at the bottom of the car to keep the center of gravity low and to prevent the cargo from shifting. ConAgra, the parent company, traced its own history back to 1919, when, in Grand Island, Nebraska, it started out as Nebraska Consolidated Mills. It is from this position that Swift led the way in revolutionizing how meat was processed, delivered, and sold. William Klann was part of a team of advisors that Ford sent out to find a better means of production. As a young boy, Swift took little interest in his studies and left the nearby country school after eight years. JBS Australia is the largest meat processing company in Australia and a division of JBS, the largest animal protein processing company in the world, working in the areas of food, leather, products for pets, biodiesel, collagen, cans and cleaning products. Modernization was one key to the company's success. 2 of 15. Swift's president, David Heggestad, noted that Zoll provided a good fit with Swift's plans to increase its food service presence and grow its value-added line of products. Efforts to focus on the Swift Premium product line, in the form of a $10 million advertising campaign, began in 2003. Swift Armour Meat Packing Plant. What I'd like to find out is what each building was originally used for, maps of the plant and stories or anecdotes about happenings at the plant. Swift—Simply Better Beef Serve only the best. (Swift once bragged that his slaughterhouses had become so sophisticated that they used "everything but the squeal.") In 1999, the year in which Dennis Henley was named Swift's president and chief operating officer (COO), the company's Worthington, Minnesota, plant became its second pork producing plant to earn ISO 9002 certification--the only ones with that certification in the United States. Once acquired by ConAgra, Swift was merged with Monfort into the Monfort Pork Division, which, in 1995, was renamed Swift & Company. Not much work unless you want to be a farmer. Date Created. In the middle of the century, Swift was a huge operation, much larger than its descendant would be as a subsidiary of ConAgra at the end of the century. My great grandpa Olive Holliday is on the bottom row 4th from the left. The upshot was that the cattle frequently commanded only low prices in the East, where the western beef was slow to gain popularity. And that wasn’t the line of work Ivan “Verl” Thompson loved to do. The transaction, valued at about $1.4 billion, took place in August, when a 54 percent ownership of Swift passed to an investor group led by Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst, Inc. (HMTF), with ConAgra retaining a 46 percent interest. 3.6. 1996 and Beyond: Expansion and Another Ownership Shift. Newspaper photograph of the meat packing plant. By developing a vertically integrated company, Swift was able to control the sale of his meats from the slaughterhouse to the local butcher shop.[8]. From 1893 to 1933, there was no year in which less than 15 million head of livestock were unloaded and processed there, and in two years in the 1920s over 18 million head were processed. Low-grade meats were canned in products like pork and beans. The largest, the Swift Meat Packing Plant, which opened in 1893, has been completely demolished; the vast majority of the former site sits underneath the approaches to the new Mississippi River bridge. Swift Meat Packing in Des Moines on YP.com. The next year, the company bought what would eventually become its principal plant, an Armour and Company facility in Worthington, Minnesota, that it purchased from Armour's parent, the Greyhound Corporation, At the time, it was a two-story, 95,000 square-foot facility, but eventually it would almost triple in size as Swift's operations there expanded. These practices symbolize the concept of "rationalized organization of work" to this day. Swift pioneered the use of animal by-products for the manufacture of soap, glue, fertilizer, various types of sundries, and even medical products. Cooking the meat beyond the USDA guideline of 160 degrees F renders out the fat and tenderizes the meat. 55. The impact of the deal on Swift was not immediately clear. Creator. [citation needed], Swift adapted the methods of the industrial revolution to meat packing operations, which resulted in huge efficiency by allowing his plants to produce on a massive scale. At its new plant in Worthington, it also introduced its Swift Brands, Swift Tender Lean, and Swift Premium products. June 7, 2019. julieannegrant. [2] Getting the animals to market required herds to be driven distances of up to 1,200 miles to railheads in Kansas City, MO, where they were loaded into stock cars and transported live (on the hoof) to regional processing centers. Still, the live shipment of cattle from the stockyard was a poor system that was inimical to the cattlemen's interests. A number of attempts were made during the mid-19th century to ship agricultural products via rail car. Swift and partner James A. Hathaway (a renowned Boston meat dealer) initially relocated the company to Albany, then almost immediately thereafter to Buffalo. A pioneer in vacuum-packaging, the company has an enviable history of providing high quality, fresh meat products worldwide and claims among its international customers companies in Canada, EU (European Union), Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Mexico, and Taiwan. Swift's profits encouraged ConAgra to invest more in its subsidiary's growth. Swift & Company traces it origins back to 1855 when, on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, 16-year-old Gustavus Franklin Swift, the ninth in a family of 22 children, encouraged by his father, started in business for himself as a slaughterer, packager, and distributor of beef. [3] The first known refrigerated boxcar or "reefer" entered service on the Northern Railroad (New York) (or NRNY, which became part of the Rutland Railroad) in June 1851. The Swift Packing Plant was a division of Swift and Company located at South 27th and Q Streets in South Omaha, Nebraska. Swift devoted a great deal of time to indoctrinating employees and teaching them the company's methods and policies. At JBS Australia we believe in being the best we can be. Sometime in 1913 they realized that the "disassembly line" principle employed in slaughterhouses could be adapted to building automobiles -- on a moving assembly line. Meat industry Industrial facilities. Swift and Company, headquartered in Fort Worth, was a major branch of the nation's leading nineteenth-century meat-packing firm and one of the nation's Big Four meat-packers of the early 1900s. Situated on 14 acres, the Swift & Company plant was adjacent to tracks of the Fort Worth Western Railroad, which carried the plant's products to the East. He established Northwestern University's "School of Oratory" in memory of his daughter, Annie May Swift, who died while a student there. 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